When you think of video games, you don’t usually think of an active encounter that has your entire body moving. However, with the inclusion of motion controls in the last two generations of video game consoles, starting with the Nintendo Wii, more developers are exploring the world of “exergaming,” a common term used for games that provide physical exercise opportunities. Harvard Health Blog reports some advantages of playing exergames includes improving balance, encouraging muscle strengthening, dancing, and simulating other forms of physical activity. These exergames aren’t going to deliver an intense workout that has the impact of P90X, but they fill a moderate exercise niche that a wide range of demographics benefit from.
Nike+ Kinect Training
Nike+ Kinect Training centers around personalized training that works with your fitness level. It uses the Xbox 360 Kinect platform, so you have full-body motion sensing available. The first thing this game does is track your base fitness level, and it then creates a program around what you’re able to do. It gives you a score, or ‘Fuel Print,’ so you see how you improve as you engage in this program. It also integrates seamlessly with the Nike+ Kinect Training app for the iOS or Windows phone. The game caters to those with competitive streaks as well, by allowing you to go head-to-head with your friends. If your workout buddy is a hundred miles away, the Partner Workout feature lets you work out together through Xbox Live.
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The Center for Disease Control recommends 150 minutes of exercise every week to lose weight, reduce risk of cardiovascular disease and lower your chances of getting certain cancers such as colon, breast and lung. It’s not always possible to get out to the gym, so using Nike+ Kinect Training and other exergames help you squeeze that 30 minutes a day into your schedule.
Zumba is a popular, high-energy fitness style that pulls exercise inspiration from Latin American dance. Not only are the moves great for intense cardio, but you also get to exercise along with dance music from various regions.This game focuses on your core muscles and abs, although you do get a full-body workout alongside these focus areas. Create your own workout routines within the game by putting together a sequence of Zumba moves into one cohesive workout. This feature allows you to pace your exercises so you’re getting a quality workout throughout the entire game.
After playing this game, you’re sure to sleep like a baby as another benefit to working regular exercise into your schedule is improving your sleep quality. The Sleep Foundation reports that 51 percent of people polled reported a higher quality of sleep when they exercised, versus days they skipped exercising.
Wii Fit Plus
Wii Fit is a best-selling franchise for the Nintendo Wii, utilizing a balance board and motion controller to guide you through a variety of exercises. Wii Fit Plus, the sequel to this popular game, continues the same path. Customization options in Wii Fit Plus include choosing an area of your body to focus on, such as shoulders and back, as well as general wellness options like relaxation. You also create customized routines from a variety of pre-programmed yoga poses and exercises.
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Wii Fit Plus also helps you encourage your children to get their exercise. Health.gov reports that 14 percent of high schoolers don’t get 60 minutes of exercise all week, let alone every day. The Wii provides an opportunity to get your kids active without forcing them to the gym or enrolling them in after school activities they don’t enjoy.
Keep Making Positive Changes
If you’re someone who is benefiting from playing exergames, good for you! You’re already on the path toward a healthier lifestyle. Your back will now be one of your biggest fans, cheering you on in pain-free exercise. Whether you’re an adult who just loves gaming or a parent trying to get your kids excited about fitness, try to go the extra distance. This means introducing healthy foods into your diet and working on your mental well-being. There are many blogs you can visit that focus specifically on helping you implement your new healthy lifestyle, like Laser Spine Institute’s wellness blog.